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CPA and the Commonwealth

Accredited Commonwealth Organisations

Being one of the oldest established Commonwealth organisations the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is an officially Accredited and Associated Commonwealth organisation. The Commonwealth is supported by a network of more than 70 such accredited organisations and nine Associated Organisations all working in specialist areas from education to urban planning.

As an Associated organisation, the CPA is formally recognised as a part of the Commonwealth family and is therefore committed to the values and principles of the Commonwealth, as written in the Commonwealth Charter.

A list of such organisations can be found on the Commonwealth Secretariat website.

The Commonwealth Charter

The Charter of the Commonwealth (also known as the Commonwealth Charter) is a charter setting out the values of the Commonwealth as well as the commitment of its member states to the following areas:

1. Democracy
2. Human rights
3. International peace and security
4. Tolerance, respect and understanding
5. Freedom of Expression
6. Separation of Powers
7. Rule of Law
8. Good Governance
9. Sustainable Development
10. Protecting the Environment
11. Access to Health, Education, Food and Shelter
12. Gender Equality
13. Importance of Young People in the Commonwealth
14. Recognition of the Needs of Small States
15. Recognition of the Needs of Vulnerable States
16. The Role of Civil Society

Importantly, the Charter reaffirms the values and principles of the Commonwealth as developed over many decades, including: the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles, the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, the Langkawi Declaration on the Environment, the Millbrook Action Programme, the Latimer House Principles, the Aberdeen Agenda, the Trinidad and Tobago Affirmation of Commonwealth Values and Principles, the Munyonyo Statement on Respect and Understanding, the Lake Victoria Commonwealth Climate Change Action Plan, the Perth Declaration on Food Security Principles, and the Commonwealth Declaration on Investing in Young People.

The Charter was officially signed by Queen Elizabeth II at Marlborough House, London, on the Commonwealth Day on 11 March 2013 in her role as Head of the Commonwealth.

One of the core beliefs of the CPA is to promote and uphold the values and principles outlined in the Charter.

Download a copy of the Commonwealth Charter here

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

CHOGM is a biennial (held every two years) summit meeting of leaders from all Commonwealth nations. Every two years the meeting is held in a different member state and is chaired by that nation's respective Prime Minister or President who becomes the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office until the next meeting.

History

The first CHOGM was held in 1971 in Singapore, and there have been 25 held in total: the most recent was held in London, UK. They are held once every two years, although this pattern has been interrupted in recent years.

CHOGMs are an opportunity for world leaders to come together to examine and identify solutions for tackling contentious issues impacting upon member countries. Over the years, these have focused on seeking peaceful solutions to civil wars, military coups, apartheid, terrorism and more recently climate change, human rights abuses, cybersecurity and trade.

Structure

CHOGM comprises of differing elements. The main focus is the Heads of Government Retreat, which is a closed meeting for just government leaders. This is also accompanied by the Ministerial Meetings for Foreign Ministers and Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

CHOGMs also allow for wider civil society engagement through the Forums. There are now four official forums which comprise of the following:

  • Commonwealth Youth Forum
  • Commonwealth Women’s Forum
  • Commonwealth People’s Forum
  • Commonwealth Business Forum

In advance of the 2018 CHOGM held in London, a Commonwealth Parliamentarians' Forum was organised. This was the first of its kind to facilitate a forum of Parliamentarians engagement into the CHOGM process.

The CHOGM Communique

At the conclusion of each CHOGM, a closing communique is published on behalf of member-states.

The CPA's role at CHOGM

As an Associated and Accredited Commonwealth organisation, the CPA contributes to submissions to the Committee of the Whole (COW), which is a grouping of senior officials and High Commissioners from member states, responsible for finalising the CHOGM Communiqué. In doing so, we work in partnership with other Associated Commonwealth organisations as well as separately with the Independent Forum of Commonwealth Organisations (IFCO).

The CPA, in support of its networks such as the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) will support the delivery of the Commonwealth Women's Forum through the delivery of a number of sessions.

CPA will also coordinate the attendance of its Officers and Members to attend key meetings and Forums.

CHOGM 2020/2021

Rwanda will host the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The meeting was due to be held in June 2020. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the event was postponed until June 2021. For more information visit the following link: https://chogm2020.rw/